Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Prehistoric patterns of economic and technological behavior reflected in the 2004 lithic assemblage of site J69E, Espiritu Santo Island, Baja California Sur Public Deposited

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  • The La Ballena #3 site J69E is a shell midden located on Espiritu Santo Island in Baja California Sur. Archaeological excavations conducted in the summer of 2004 investigated a midden containing lithic and shell artifacts as well as faunal and human remains. Analysis of the debitage and formed lithic tool assemblage collected from the surface of the site and from subsurface levels reveals a record of hunting and gathering practices associated with late Pleistocene to early Holocene age radiocarbon dates. There are five research goals addressed in this thesis encompassing the characterization of technological behaviors from the 2004 lithic assemblage; evaluating patterns of technology through time; evaluating uses of raw lithic materials; evaluating logistical and economic patterns from the production of lithic tools; and evaluating whether the lithic materials indicate mobility within the island and/or the mainland. Theoretical approaches that deal with the organization of hunter-gatherer subsistence practices are used in conjunction with the results of lithic analyses to determine patterns of past human behaviors. Determinations of lithic raw material types and provenance within the island landscape were conducted using microscopes and remote sensing techniques. Typological and aggregate analytical methods were used to determine tool production, hunter-gatherer mobility, and site function. The results of the analyses show that the people inhabiting site J69E emphasized the production of flakes from a variety of core types that were made into expedient flake tools as well as groundstone manufacture. The remote sensing technologies show that the lithic raw materials were being collected from within the area of La Ballena Bay. Together, these data indicate that the hunter-gatherers living in this area practiced forager logistical and subsistence strategies but with relatively low mobility. The practices follow the expected patterns for marine adaptations in the late period Las Palmas culture, which may have had its roots among the early inhabitants of J69E. Adaptations to early maritime environments have not been significant in the New World; however, from this research we can see that the inhabitants successfully adapted to the environments very early.
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